Feeling guilty about not touching my family's ridiculous book collection and the fact that I may want to become a writer, I decided to dive in.
Books I've read so far:
An American Childhood (Dillard) - This is a summer reading book for IB, but I loved it. Her prose is pure poetry. There's a lot of detail, which can be overwhelming, but I felt the book was worth the frustration.
The Namesake (Lahiri) - This was given to me by my girlfriend, who is also a writer and a lightning-fast reader, because we saw the movie together a while back. Although I like the amount of detail put in the book, I feel like the book is lacking a bit of soul. For one thing, she states the obvious, something I always try and avoid with my writing since it dulls the effectiveness of an otherwise touching moment. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book, but I felt like the movie was so much more moving. Mira Nair has such a gift for making India seem like such a wondrous place, and the performance of Ashoke's character gave the story so much life. The movie both ruined and made the book for me. I didn't enjoy the book as much as the movie, but the movie helped me find what the book was lacking. I'll take them as a combined experience, and as an experience, it ranks up there with my favorites.
One-Hundred Years of Solitude (Marquez) - Quite incredible. It's rare that I get truly excited while reading a book, and the beautiful prose and incredible mythology just struck a nerve. Like Juan Rulfo's Pedro Paramo (which partly inspired this book), it's very sensual and involves fantastical but believable elements in it's world. It's just incredible. The only thing I didn't like was the incest. Well, it's fine until the last mentioned relationship, which left a sour taste in my mouth. Still a beautiful book, though.
The Icarus Girl (Oyeyemi) - Kind of overrated. The plot itself is excellent, but the whole thing feels sloppy. I kept hearing about how Helen Oyeyemi is a prodigy, and from reading a few pages of The Opposite House I believed it, but this book disappointed me. She has some really beautiful moments, but not nearly enough. The use of Nigerian mythology was quite brilliant, though.
Now I'm reading Such a Long Journey by Rohanton Mistry. Another excellent book. It's about India during the creation of Bangladesh. It follows one family as it struggles through the period and becomes involved in the clandestine events within the period. So far I really like it.